Can Chickens Eat Mandarins? Is It Safe?

By Paul Smart •  Updated: 08/26/22 •  5 min read

Can Chickens Eat Mandarins? Is It Safe? If you are keeping chickens at home in your own backyard you may be wondering what types of foods they can eat. One of the common myths that exists is that chickens don’t eat citrus or that it is poisonous for them but is that really the reality?  I have a big mandarin tree at home and I wondered whether the chickens will eat the mandarins?

Chickens will definitely eat mandarins they will pick at the skin which is significantly easier for them to get off compared to other citrus fruit such as oranges or lemons and they will eat the flesh inside as well as the peel. However, if I compare that to other options available in my garden citrus plants are not the chickens’ favorite food and therefore should only form part of a balanced diet.

One of the issues associated with feeding chickens mandarins, in particular, is that their relatively sweet and do contain a high sugar content which generally is not very good for chickens. Therefore, it is a good idea to only give them a little bit of citrus at any given time turn ensure that they do not get too much sugar.

Additionally, other nutrients such as vitamin C which are known to be present in citrus in large quantities are not required for the chickens in most cases because they produce enough vitamin C within their body and also have vitamin C from a range of different plants such as parsley which has similar my levels to mandarins.

What Do Chickens Eat?

Chickens can eat a range of fruits and vegetables from your garden irrespective of whether they are sour or a little bit bitter. For example, chickens love to eat lettuce that has bolted and they will pick at them for hours on end even though we find the plant virtually inedible. 

Other excellent choices for greens for chickens are things like parsley, nasturtiums, silverbeet or chard,  and spinach. Generally, any leafy green plant is ideal for chickens provided that it is not toxic. An example of this would be rhubarb leaves which should be avoided for the chicken.

Do Chickens Need Greens To Supplement Their Diet?

Chickens just like humans require a balanced diet to remain healthy so it is best to feed them a range of different foods that can include store-bought grains and chicken pellets. However, the chickens will really benefit from having greens and will be happier for it.

Do You Need To Chop Up Greens

Chickens are quite happy to have a bit of a nipple of any leafy greens and they they do not require them to be especially chopped up as I will take bits and pieces off the leaves with their beaks.

To reduce the rate of decay of some of these leafy greens many chicken owners also up tie leaves up into bunches and lift them off the ground which does extend the life of the plants somewhat.

Can Chickens Eat Food That Is Beginning To Decay?

Generally, chickens will not benefit from eating food that is beginning to decay or has significant mold growth. While chickens are relatively tolerant of many common bacteria due to the nature of how they forage it is not advisable to feed them foods that are beginning to turn as you cannot be certain about the effect may have upon them.

As a result of this, it is important to ensure that you give them relatively fresh fruit and then also periodically clean out their pen to ensure that there are no leftover scraps that can cause problems later on.

If you have food that is beginning to turn it is best to place it in either the compost bin or the worm bin depending on what you have available at your house.

What Foods Are Poisonous For Chickens?

Chickens will generally eat most things, however, there are a few particular types of vegetables that should be avoided. The most obvious example of this is green potatoes and also tomato plants because they have some toxins in them which can cause problems with the animals. However, you can feed chickens ripe tomatoes but green tomatoes should be avoided.

In addition to these plants, it is a good idea to double-check any cuttings that you’re going to take from your ornamental garden as there are a surprisingly large number of plants that are toxic. Examples of this include things like foxgloves, delphiniums, Lily of the valley, tulips and lupins to name a few.

As there are so many different plant species around it is impossible to give you a definitive list within this article, however, as a general rule, we recommend that you assume that if it is poisonous for humans it is likely to be a problem for the chickens. 

So if you were unsure about the plants that you’re feeding the chickens would highly recommend that you consult the toxic plant lists compiled by the University of California.

This list unlike others that have been published also contains those plants which are completely free of toxins which means that it is a useful list for confirming those plants which will be 100% safe for chickens,

I hope you have great success feeding your chickens mandarins. If you have any additional questions or comments please leave them in the section below.

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Paul Smart